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DISCUSSION Statplays or Freeforms?

Discussion in 'Roleplaying Discussion' started by Eebit, Nov 4, 2014.

  1. So with this new section, I thought we should talk about the two "dominant" forms of roleplaying that we typically host around here - the traditional, play-by-post "freeform" roleplays, and the grid-based statistical format. Obviously, both have their ups and downs, but I'd like to rouse a little bit of discussion. Do you have a preference of one to the other? What do you enjoy about your preferred format? Is there a reason (if applicable) that you would steer away from the other format?
  2. I guess I'll start the discussion.
    I kind of prefer freeform because it's much simpler, I guess, and also the type I was most used to doing with my friends. As I enjoy writing, freeform is like having a story but from different perspectives- which is cool for me. Statplay's are kind of like the Fire Emblem version of roleplaying, which I think is also very cool! I'd never thought of adding that kind of play to RPs and it's very intriguing. I think I probably prefer freeform more simply because that's what I have seen the most. Even on ZEJ we don't have much of a statplay thing going on right now (Well actually at the moment, there aren't ANY recent posts in an rp). So I guess the thing is that I just haven't gotten the chance to delve into statplays the same way I did with freeforms.
  3. I marginally prefer freeform- both are fun and I love making statform profiles, but statform can be a bit slow sometimes (remember that 10-round battle in tOO that took us months?). Freeform also allows for new takes on battle techniques a bit quicker, like I'd be able to have a character do something at his skill level right away once I have that idea whereas I'd have to level him up at least once (or wait until the end of a battle) to use a skill point.

    Statform does include the "story from different perspectives" bit though, Moon, since most (barring Recursion) statplays have roleplaying during and between battles. Same location =/= same perspective, and even then the party might not all be together~
  4. Most of the forum is going to say statistical because monopoly, though I like freeform more because I just have more fun with it. Not very competent at statform.
  5. very impressive generalization there

    Freeform. Statform is just an alternative to the overall roleplaying "genre", after all. Though statistics are extremely fun and sometimes very immersive as well, I prefer the freedom of freeform battles, most importantly the fact that objective power level is primarily weighted on the skill of the roleplayer, instead of a set of arbitrary parameters.
  6. I have no preference, really.

    Both types are equally the same with regards to how the progress of a story is written; the only difference between the two is the way the battles are structured. To be honest, they are both specialized in their own way, freeform allowing more of the player's creativity in how a fight plays out while statform has a structured way and rhyme and reason to how a battle can be won. I like the feeling that you get from strategizing with your teammates to defeat a longstanding boss in statform, but the flowiness of freeform is much more briskly paced and allows for more actual roleplaying to be done.

    Lol. I don't know.
  7. Freeform roleplays are more or less the fiber of the roleplay idea. It leaves the field open to infinite possibilities and potential. The freedom it offers allows any character or story to develop however the player's choose. At the same time it leaves it open to chaos and disorder. I've participated in quite a few FFRPs that get cluttered with everyone trying to take the limelight or shift the story in their own direction, sometimes turning it into a conceptual tug-of-war. Having no set parameters means the amount of punishment a character could give or take is left to the discretion of the RPer, which can be good or bad. With the freedom this style offers come great potential for both glorious success and miserable failure. All in all, Freeform is just group storytelling: You can't predict anything because multiple people tell the story at the same time. Anarchy.

    Statplays I feel are more restrictive in general, providing laws to abide by and a very noticeable GM presence of control. It's much more complex in development and therefore is a bit harder to run or keep running. With profiles, skills and traits constantly being refined by players and GMs alike, it creates a field of statistical freedom that can be difficult to understand or follow. The nejoyment comes generally from the "fight-scenes" of the roleplay as that is where the stats go flying around. I also find it adds an at least stronger sense of realism to RP battles as there is a definite point of when a character can't take any more punishment or produce more stupendous effects; not to mention the "you never know what could happen in a fight" feel of a character who shouldn't have lost suddenly getting wasted, or a sudden victory by the underdog. Democracy.

    As for my personal preference? An RP that actually lasts.
  8. I think it's interesting that you say that, Dark, because the number of threads is about even, and the number of posts in freeform roleplays actually swings slightly in favour of freeforms. It's anything but a monopoly! I'm sure you were joking with that comment, but I really don't think the majority of the forum prefers statform, regardless of your apparent confirmation bias. On the other hand though, you may say that you have an "incompetence" in statform, but I think that mostly stems from a lack of experience (or maybe even opportunity, to piggyback off of Moon's sentiment) with the medium. I don't know if we've seen you in an actual statplay since the early days when we were all just learning.

    I really like Zio's way of looking at it with the infamous dichotomy of "anarchy vs. democracy." Does this mean we'll need to create our own equivalents of the Helix and Dome Fossils...?

    Another question, since I'm noticing a slight trend in answers; I've mentioned this in statplaying discussions-at-large in either Skype with individuals, or #CoE on occasion, but I want to bring it up for discussion. Does it feel like there is too much of an emphasis on the 'stat' side of thing, and not enough on the 'play' side?

    And still another... Gist mentioned in the Eternal Dream Skype group a bit ago that she wondered how people would handle it if, say, a healer were to not want to heal a party member in need, even if the battle demanded it. For the sake of the character, what would you do in that situation? Would you temporarily (as a player) override in-character emotions for the sake of 'winning' the battle, or would you keep your character's in-character persona's integrity as the paramount, even at the cost of the battle?
  9. I feel like statplaying is almost strictly a tactics game. We seldom ever talk about them but if you consider some of the other roleplaying games out there, such as Apocalypse World, there are many mechanics in place that are purely a mechanic for the flow of roleplay. Statplaying on the other hand simply "activates" for combat, like in many videogames. In that sense, I consider statplaying a video game, with roleplaying replacing the visual-novel style cutscenes we find in most RPGs.

    To answer the second question more directly, I think you can do that, and I think most people (including myself) would commend you for it. However, you are playing to a weakness of the system. Because encounters are often balanced, and can in some cases result in game overs rather than story progression, it may be a bad idea, and you would be fighting against the system to do so. In that sense, moments like that are a weakness of statplaying as a system. In comparison to freeform and general RPGs alike.
  10. Depends on how dire the situation is. Remember in tOO there was that chest in the second battle, which Eileen went to get? If I remember correctly, the original plan was for Jason to go grab it while Eileen handled the monsters, but I realized that Jason would not step away from defending David just to go after supplies. It wasn't too much of an inconvenience for Eileen to get it instead, though.

    If someone in the party desperately needs healing, it would depend on 1. how easily the person can get out of range, 2. if someone's nearby who can heal them other than the healer in question, and 3. why said healer doesn't want to. There might be other factors at work, but those are the general ones.
  11. I can't help but be reminded of the O Nelly incident. The scenario demanded Kirin perform one type of action while her character demanded she perform another. Ultimately I decided to go with the latter for the basis of roleplay>statplay in my personal priority for posts. This decision resulted in Kirin's death. 

    Another incident would be Nita Ataie passing out from excessive mana consumption in ADF. A tactical failure but a personaliy success. This had almost no reprecussions though.

    As for the stat-heavy aspect of statplays, I've been working on an rp since I left two years ago that is intended to address this and try a new play style. When I start it is yet to be determined.
  12. Statplays, mostly because when given the freedom of freeform, I have no idea what to do with it (mostly due to overreactive imagination and general indecisiveness -- it's a case of "I don't know what to do with my hands or feet".).

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